ILNews

7th Circuit grants writ of habeas corpus

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the denial of a habeas corpus petition, finding the Indiana Court of Appeals unreasonably applied federal law when it determined prior statements of identification by witnesses the government suppressed didn’t create a reasonable probability of a different result at trial.

Walter Lee Goudy appealed the denial of his habeas corpus petition by the District Court, arguing he was denied a fair trial because of the government’s failure to disclose three eyewitness statements that implicated one of its main witnesses and the failure of Goudy’s counsel to introduce his brother’s tape-recorded confession.

Goudy was convicted of killing Marvin McCloud while McCloud sat in his car, and wounding the front-seat passenger. Eyewitnesses at Goudy’s trial, including the state’s primary witness, Kaidi Harvell, gave different descriptions of the man they believed was Goudy. Eyewitnesses also gave different accounts regarding which side of the car the suspect was sitting on.

The government didn’t share at trial three police reports with statements by the witnesses that differ from the trial accounts, including that many of the witnesses picked Harvell out of a photo lineup as the shooter on the driver’s side. The jury also didn’t hear the tape-recorded confession by Romeo Lee, Goudy’s brother, who was there at the time of the shooting. He said he and Goudy were often confused for each other because of their similar appearances.

Goudy appealed to the Indiana Court of Appeals, Supreme Court, and for post-conviction relief. All affirmed his convictions.

In Walter Lee Goudy v. James Basinger, superintendent, No. 08-3679, the Circuit judges found the Indiana Court of Appeals identified the correct legal principle -- Goudy had to demonstrate a reasonable probability that the new evidence would lead to a different result. But the appellate court decision required he prove the new evidence “would have” established his innocence, wrote Judge William Bauer.

“In short, Goudy has shown that the state court’s decision on his Brady claim involved an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law,” wrote the judge. “Rather than applying a ‘reasonable probability’ standard for materiality of suppressed evidence as required by United States v. Bagley, the court unreasonably required Goudy to show that the suppressed evidence would establish his innocence. The court did not recognize Bagley’s requirement that the effect of suppressed evidence be assessed cumulatively.”

Because the Circuit Court granted Goudy’s petition on the police report issue, the judges didn’t decide whether Goudy received ineffective assistance of counsel. The state has 120 days to retry Goudy or release him.

 

 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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